Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Friday, November 9, 2012

Telephone Poles.....

Instead of looking for photos of people on the phone, I thought I would look for evidence that phones actually existed in our area.  Once I thought of the idea then I wondered if I knew the difference between a phone line and a power line.  I guess I really don't. This view is looking towards Murray in 1940.

I do remember in rural southern Iowa in the 60's, that our local phone poles were barely 8 to 10 feet high and they had a limited number of two or three wires on them.  They leaned a lot as the rains in Iowa would tend to wash away the soil from the base of the pole. I don't think they were buried only three of four feet into the ground. One could see them as you drove down a dirt or gravel road while traveling to town to get groceries.

My parents lived in the back of a filling station that was outside of town.  This is in the late 40's and again I don't know if these are power lines or phone lines.  I bet they are power lines,  I am really off theme with the wrong kind of poles.  But poles near a building do tell a story.

This is an old house in Osceola with one power line in view but there is a single pole in the background that probably was the phone line.  Today, most of the phone lines in Iowa are buried underground so you can't see them coming into a house.

This is a house that my grandfather built north of Murray, Iowa.  From what you can see here, I bet the house had neither electricity or telephone. I am sure it was taken in the 30's or earlier so phones companies didn't exist.

It is the 40's and my dad is standing on a street in Belgium.  There is one pole standing in the background.  Wires for something went into that house.

So I found another pole.  It is my photo of me and my three older brothers.  I even remember this pole and it was our telephone pole.  It sat next to a large ditch next to our gravel road that went past our front yard. My mom had planted flowers around it and it always seemed unnatural to have it there as the oiled tall poles didn't come from any trees that we grew in Iowa.   I am sure they came from a grove of tall pines that grew out west in the mountains or in Minnesota.

I stil don't have a visual of the first phone that I ever saw but we had a crank wooden phone that hung on the wall just on the right side of the window.  The wooden box had the black speaker phone projecting out of it  with the receiver hanging to the side of the phone.

 It was early 50's and I was too short to reach the phone and no child in the house was allowed to touch such a thing.  

There was a fuse box on the outside of the house and it was common for the lightning to travel through the lines and the fuse would need to be replaced.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Looking with hats.

A photo posted by a childhood classmate on her facebook post brought back many memories to me.  She posted the photo, as she was related to three of the children and she is the younger girl in the photo riding the carnival ride.  I am posting the photo as to what is going on in the background.  The time period has to be around 1953 and the location is unknown to the owner of the photo.  I suspect it is in one of the neighboring towns of Murray, Iowa.  The possible towns could be Afton, Creston or Osceola.

I remember seeing steam engines when young as they traveled through Murray, Iowa.  The tracks divided the town and to travel to the grocery store we would have to wait for the trains to pass by while the cars and trucks waited to cross.  The dark smoke from burning coal was very visibile and the sulfur smell is a strong memory to me also. The coal car itself was filled to various degrees depending on the last time they had loaded up the coal for the train.  The mechanics of the propelling of the wheels because of steam power is still a fascination to see.

The hobos riding along on top of the cars during the warm months made the watching of the train more enjoyable.  My mother shared with me that it was common for the hobos to get off of the train and knock on doors for free food to  eat.  She said that when she and my dad had first married, they lived in a rented house close to the track in Murray. It was a bad place to live as the sound of the trains literally sounded like they were coming through the living room.

 It  was not a surprise to her to have someone knock on the door and politely ask for a plate of food.  My mom would tell of finding cold boiled potatoes and bread for them to eat and they really like hot cups of coffee, which they would eat while sitting on the porch outside. Milk and spare desserts would make them very pleased.

One other distinct memory of the old trains was the one seeing them traveling down the tracks in the country.  Highway 34 ran parallel to the track so one could see the engine puffing out its black and gray smoke, billowing out in cloud-like forms. The smoke stack left a trail behind it for a very long distance. The smoke trail would be different on windy days but the stretched trail along the top of the cars would make it seem like a magical thing.

One other observation from the photo is the dress of the people in the background.  It was some sort of town celebration that was going on as the men were wearing dress slacks and white shirts, not the everyday jeans or bib overalls. The conversations seemed important as they ignored both the passing steam engine as well as the kids on the carnival ride. I really can't see how they could hear one another when the train was going by them.  I can't imagine that the engine is parked there but it might be as you see people crossing the tracks with out worry on the left side of the photo.

On a different vien of thought, I found a postcard photo of a school building in Dexter, Iowa.  This was not necessarily a common look of the schools built back then as most of them didn't have the decorative details as this one has. What I found interesting is that it must have been designed and built at the same time as the one in my school in Woodward, Iowa.  The reason being that it is exactly the same building as the one I first taught here in Woodward back in 1976. I would declare that the same architect plan was used and maybe the same crew could have built the building.

As evidence to my belief of them being the same structure different locations is the drawing of the Woodward building. when it was first built.   It was built in 1906 and torn down in 1993. This is the first time that I have ever seen another building in Iowa that was just like this one.

I didn't attend here, I was a teacher in this building starting in 1976.  My room was in the area where the three back basement windows are on the right side.

As a footnote to the above drawing.  I had few pictures of the real building while I was teaching in the building.  Once the building was torn down,  I created the drawing from a postcard similar to the one created of the Dexter building. The postcard was being sold at the Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines.

You have noticed that I am totally off theme. I do have some men with hats, standing and talking. I rarely keep my train on the track, so to speak.  I was feeling guilty as I had not posted for a long time.  With winter coming I will be forced to stay inside and my blogging should pick up to a more regular pace.

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